It’s going to be a good time at Penticton’s Peachfest

With some of B.C.’s most popular bands on the list, it would be hard to argue with Don Kendall when he says that they have a great set of musicians lined up for the 2011 Penticton Peach Festival.

Peach Festival organizers scored a major coup this year when they booked Trooper

With some of B.C.’s most popular bands on the list, it would be hard to argue with Don Kendall when he says that they have a great set of musicians lined up for the 2011 Penticton Peach Festival.

It’s hard to argue with Kendall, the past president of the Peachfest Society, about this subject at any time — the annual summer festival always has an amazing set of performers. But with Trooper, who are now billing themselves as “Canada’s oldest and coolest rock band,” topping the list, it removes all doubt that this year will be amazing. The multi-award winning, multi-platinum selling group, which released its first album in 1975, is still selling out shows and traveling coast to coast more than 35 years later.

“That’s, without doubt, the biggest band Peachfest has had in a long time, and the fact that it’s free, people just can’t believe,” said Kendall, who adds that they wouldn’t have been able to book the band without the help of Peters Bros. Construction, a longtime Peachfest supporter. “Most people are used to paying $25-30 to see Trooper. The fact that it’s free, that’s thanks to Peters Bros.”

Peters Bros. has sponsored the Peachfest Grand Parade for many years, as well as other special performances like the Snowbirds, Kendall said.

“They are a fantastic supporter of Peach Festival. I can say that without Peter’s Bros Construction, Peachfest wouldn’t exist in its current state,” said Kendall. “They’ve really stepped up to the plate this year.”

But though Trooper is topping the list, they’re far from being the only well-known and popular performers coming to town for the festival, which runs from August 3 to 7 this year.

“For Kiddie’s Day, we’re really happy to get Charlotte Diamond back. We had her here in 2009 and it was our largest Kiddies’ Day crowd in history,” said Kendall. “Little kids love her and their parents love her. It’s kind of a multi-generational thing.”

Sunday, the headliner is an Irish group called Killarney. They moved over to Canada years ago and had their own show on the CBC at one time. They toured the country and then got offered a gig at the Blarney Stone in Gastown about 20 years ago and ever since then, they’ve been the house band there.

“I think they’re in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running house band in the world,” said Kendall. “And they’re an incredible group. They appeal to all ages — the last time they played in the Okanagan was about 12-13 years ago.”

The schedule also includes Blaze of Glory, which Kendall calls the number one Bon Jovi tribute band in Canada, performing Wednesday evening and country singer J.D. Bixby headlong Friday night.

“We’re really happy to get Bixby. I think he’s still only 19 years old, I think he might be 20 now.  But he is a great performer and certainly one of Canada’s rising country stars,” said Kendall.

The festival is also bringing back two other bands that were a big hit last year. KISS tribute band Love Gun a nd High Voltage, an AC/DC tribute will be back in the Saturday night slot. Kendall said the reason for bringing the bands in for a repeat performance are simple.

“First off, they’re great performers and secondly it’s great to have local bands on stage,” he said. “The park was absolutely packed, we couldn’t get another person in last year.”

There are a lot of great performers at the festival other than headliner bands, Kendall adds.

“We’ve got the Flow Riders Mountain Bike Circus. They put on an amazing show, so they’re our centre of the park entertainment this year. Then we’ve got an up and rising kid form Vancouver named Brock Zanross. He’s 16 years old, great looking kid, he has had two hit records already,” he said. “Wonderful voice. I think every young girl in the South Okanagan will want to go see him.”

And Kendall adds that there will be lots of local performers involved in the five-day festival.

“Keeping with our traditions and our policy, we’ve got dozens of local performers. Every day there are local acts on stage,” said Kendall. “We think it is important to showcase all the local talent. I think we had 30 local acts on stage last year.”

More information about the 2011 Peach Festival and schedules is available online at peachfest.com.